Every time I hear this song, it makes me feel emotional. I don’t understand why it pulls my heart strings to such an extent – is it the words, is it the music, is it the desperation in Kenny Rodger’s voice, or is it a combination of all three?

I know not. I just know it brings tears to my eyes, and a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. Now that’s what I call songwriting.

The song, which came out in 1969, gives a very visual picture, and, as the words come tumbling out, each time I hear it, I see this brave and struggling Vietnam War veteran, sitting in his wheelchair, desperate to keep his beloved Ruby’s love, and as he watches her doing up her makeup to go out, he begs her not to leave him. He is fully aware of his limitations and knows he can no longer satisfy her needs, but he is afraid of being abandoned and losing his lover and feels completely impotent.

I feel every one of those emotions, and it tears my heart. What sort of idiot must I be, that it affects me so emotionally? I’m not a war veteran, I didn’t support that war, I’ve never been in this situation, and I’m not a man, so what is it?

I’ll tell you what it is – this song, Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town, has very powerful empathy, and Kenny Rodgers and the band knew just how to play it with maximum feeling and effect. The Vietnam War is over, but there are still wounded soldiers coming home, and this song is for all of them.

Listen to Kenny Rogers singing Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town on these videos

This one is great because you can read the lyrics as you listen

Broken Hearted

Do you love "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" as much aas I do?

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  • DebMartin Feb 12, 2014 @ 7:35 pm
    Yes. Love the song, love the man.
  • Brite-Ideas Feb 12, 2014 @ 9:26 am
    Just stopping by to congratulate you for review of the day as well :)
  • Gloriousconfusion Feb 12, 2014 @ 9:49 am
    Thanks, I was so pleased!
  • bloomingrose Feb 11, 2014 @ 8:32 am
    Thanks for the sweet review. I didn't realize the song was about a Vietnam vet - I guess I never listened to it, just caught the tune.
  • Gloriousconfusion Feb 11, 2014 @ 12:37 pm
    You can tell by the date the song came out - 1969
  • Charito1962 Feb 10, 2014 @ 11:58 pm
    My favorite Kenny Rogers hit is "What About Me" with James Ingram and Kim Carnes.
  • CarolHoule Feb 10, 2014 @ 6:59 pm
    My favorite song by Kenny (& the First Edition) is "Something's Burning". I always wished it was longer.
    My sad Kenny Rogers song is "She Believes in Me". Being married to a traveling man seems difficult. Being married to a musician is harder still. My top SAD song from that era is "Reflections of My Life" by Marmalade. Rips me up, throws me down and kicks me out!
  • Gloriousconfusion Feb 10, 2014 @ 9:55 pm
    I don't know any of those, but maybe if I heard them I would recognize them.
  • susan-zutautas Feb 10, 2014 @ 3:22 pm
    Love "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town"
  • Merrci Feb 10, 2014 @ 12:10 pm
    Your description is excellent. I hadn't thought of it for awhile but thinking about it while reading tightens my heart (how's that for an odd description). Great lens on a great song.
  • Ruthi Feb 10, 2014 @ 8:22 am
    It is nice to know I am not the only one who is so deeply affected by this song. Kenny Rogers hits right at the heart with Ruby.
  • tonyleather Feb 10, 2014 @ 7:53 am
    A fantastic song by a legendary singer! Thanks!
  • Brite-Ideas Feb 09, 2014 @ 1:31 pm
    wonderful review - will promote in all my usual places :), thank you!
  • Gloriousconfusion Feb 10, 2014 @ 6:14 pm
    Thank you so much!
  • Susan52 Feb 09, 2014 @ 8:32 am
    Kenny Rogers does amazing things with his voice. Great song!

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